Crevicing Still Remains One of Your Best Gold Recovery Methods (Part 9)
(Minelab's GPX 5000 is one of the new generation of gold detectors out there today.)
There's not a single "be all, end all" tool or piece of gear when it comes to crevicing or "sniping" for bedrock gold. Still, providing they are used properly and in the right context, items such as metal detectors can certainly enhance your crevicing experience.
9. The Tool and Equipment Factor
(Metal Detectors in the Field)
First off, I need to emphasize that although any metal detector can detect gold, not all of these machines are suitable for crevicing. Standard coin or artifact detectors are essentially multi-use machines that attempt to cover all the bases when it comes to locating targets and this focus on doing it all has its downside when it comes to detecting smaller pieces of placer gold. Additionally, these types of machines (although great in other contexts) have a harder time eliminating signals from the "hot rocks" and highly mineralized soils that typify so many gold areas.
Gold Prospecting Books
As I mentioned in my previous post, metal detector manufacturers have done an excellent job in this regard by creating a series of machines designed specifically for detecting natural gold in the form of flakes and nuggets. This single-focus approach has resulted in machines that are not only super sensitive to small pieces of gold, but that can easily balance out the interference or "noise" from hot rocks and highly mineralized or iron-rich soils.
This should suggest to you that gold metal detectors can be a valuable asset in your crevicing activities, although certain qualifiers need to be addressed in this regard. The first of these qualifiers is just what type of crevicing approach you're taking.
If you're an underwater crevicer, then most standard gold machines will be of limited value to you. Not only because of the added bulk, but primarily because most machines are only submersible up to the control housing. Get water inside that sucker and your pricy technical investment is literally going to go down the drain. The solution to this is finding a good machine that is 100% submersible to depth...something similar to what many underwater treasure hunters use. If you're a shallow water or dry land crevicer, then most standard gold machines will fit the bill nicely as long as you remember to keep the control housing dry.
You Get What You Pay For
Any gold machine you decide to use in the field should be highly sensitive to even very small pieces of placer gold and it MUST be able to handle areas of high mineralization easily. Otherwise your frustration levels will skyrocket as you continually fiddle and fuss with dials and switches trying to get the damn thing ground balanced. I know...been there and done that.
Dickies Work Clothes
During crevicing activities (and those hikes in and out of potentially rough terrain) machines can take a beating. Make sure the machine you purchase or use is durable and can take the punishment it'll receive over the long haul. Good gold detectors can be pricy (Minelabs being the king of this particular hill) but essentially you get what you pay for. Being a cheap ass is not going to serve you well in this regard, so remember that.
A Supplementary Tool
I guess there's a fine line when using a gold detector as an adjunct to your crevicing activities as compared to "pure" nugget shooting or electronic prospecting. My view is that in the latter two activities you are searching for natural gold in any and all contexts, whether bedrock crevices are part of the deal or not. When crevicing, you're using that gold machine as a supplementary tool to enhance your existing crevicing or "sniping" knowledge and experience. Make sense?
(Nice little nugget resting peacefully in a bedrock crevice. Photo courtesy of treasurenet.com)
One thing you should know (if you don't know it already) is that quite a few small-scale gold prospectors and miners who started with the "old school" approach have now switched to a complete focus on nugget shooting and electronic prospecting. Some of these individuals here in the United States have done exceptionally well with their machines in places like Alaska, Arizona, California, and Nevada, and I know of at least one Australian nugget shooter who's recovered well in excess of a million dollars in placer nuggets working old Aussie goldfields over the years. (Yes...you heard right...over a million dollars.)
Me? I've done my share of electronic prospecting and nugget shooting over the years but I'll be the first to admit I've not been very successful at it, for any number of reasons (though not for lack of trying). At the same time, when I've used a good gold machine as a supplement to my crevicing and "sniping" activities I've been able to come away with more creviced gold in a shorter time in most instances.
We'll talk more about how to use a good gold machine in your crevicing endeavors in my next post. Until then, best of luck to you and yours.
If you liked this post, you may want to read: "Gold in the Southwest: Arizona, Part 1"
(c) Jim Rocha (J.R.) 2013
Questions? E-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org